July 18, 2024, 1:54 pm


Abu Taher Bappa

Published:
2019-12-04 22:00:50 BdST

Calls aloud for no power tariff hike


FT ONLINE

The four-day public hearing ended on Tuesday with a call from rights groups, business bodies and political parties not to raise power tariff for consumers.

They demanded the formation of a high-powered investigation committee with representations from stakeholders to reveal anomalies in the power sector and recommend necessary remedies.

Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission (BERC) hosted the hearing in TCB auditorium in Dhaka city after accepting tariff hike proposals on initial scrutiny.

BERC Chairman Monowar Islam assured all parties involved in the hearing of a verdict taking into cognizance concerns of different sectors.

"The evidence of inflated costs in power generation, transmission and distribution was revealed in the hearing," energy adviser of Consumers Association of Bangladesh (CAB) Prof M Shamsul Alam said.

The existing infrastructure for electricity generation, transmission and distribution also deemed 'unfit' for quality electricity supply, he alleged.

Mr. Alam said a vested quarter of contractors and collective bargaining agents are also 'destroying' the power sector.

The Association of Mobile Telecom Operators of Bangladesh urged BERC to consider phone operators as a 'small industry' and bring power under small industry category instead of existing commercial category.

Anamika Bhadra of the association claimed all mobile operators excepting Grameenphone are incurring losses.

Any hike in retail electricity tariff will badly affect the commoners, said Communist Party of Bangladesh (CPB) leader Ruhin Hossain Prince.

Hearing on the retail-level tariff hike proposals of the West-Zone Power Distribution Company and Rural Electrification Board was held on Tuesday.

Representatives from different organisations there were also vocal against the installation of 'more than required' expensive oil-fired power plants.

They also opposed the continuation of the special law enacted for the rapid development of power and energy sector in 2010.

In its bulk tariff hike proposal, Bangladesh Power Development Board said it would record a revenue shortfall of Tk 86.08 billion in the fiscal year 2019-20 unless the price is raised.

It will require an estimated Tk 452.08 billion to purchase electricity from power plants while producing power from its own plants.

The state agency will get Tk 366 billion by selling power to bulk consumers at the existing rate. Currently, bulk tariff per unit (1 kilowatt/hour) is Tk 4.87.

It argued that the latest hike in tariff on natural gas pushed up electricity generation cost at gas-fired power plants by around 41 percent.

Regarding a retail tariff hike, state companies this time have not sought any fixed rate but expected BERC's decree commensurate with a bulk tariff rate hike.

Power Grid Company of Bangladesh Ltd sought to hike the electricity transmission charge by 50.77 percent from Tk 0.27 per unit to Tk 0.42.

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